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Andrius Mamontovas: “My biggest inspiration is life itself”

Andrius Mamontovas is a Lithuanian rock musician, songwriter, actor, performer and record producer. He is the co-founder of one of the most popular bands in Lithuania – Foje.  He won many awards with Foje and later continued a successful solo career, winning 15 Bravo Awards. Andrius’s music had profound influence in Lithuania and is still loved by Lithuanians all over the world. On 9th November this year Andrius held a concert for the Lithuanian community in Singapore and we managed to ask him about the concert, his career and his home country – Lithuania.

CEEC: You are one of the most famous Lithuanian musicians, being part of the band Foje and later with your solo career. In the past you have signed with a record label in California, but you were recording under your stage name: Cloudmaker. Why did you decide to record under a new name and what is next we can expect from you?

Andrius Mamontovas: I did release couple of songs under the name Cloudmaker, but that was in 2001. Usually I’m operating under my own name: Andrius Mamontovas. I just finished the recordings of my new album “Perlai ir Sakuros” (Pearls and Sakuras) and it will be released in the beginning of the next year.

CEEC: You have a very successful career for over 35 years now. Tell us more what inspires you and what keeps you creating?

AM: I started very early. In 1983 being only 16, we formed the band FOJE, that after a few years became one of the most successful bands in Lithuania. We still hold the record of the biggest concert in our country, where 60 thousand people came to our last show in 1997. After that, I continued as a solo artist. I was also involved in theatre and cinema, both as an actor and musician. My soundtrack to the movie “Loss” brought me the Jin-Jue award for the best soundtrack at the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2008. Interestingly, the award was presented to me by the famous Singaporean actress Fann Wong.

My bigest inspiration is life itself. Artists usually collect all kinds of experiences and then tell about them through their art. Also, music is always on my mind. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

CEEC: On 9th November you had a concert in Singapore for the Lithuanian community here. Tell us more about the concert. Where did the idea come from? How was the crowd and how did the event go? 

AM: This was my first visit to your beautiful country. I know I’ll be coming here to explore more. There are Lithuanian communities all around the world, so I travel to sing to my people. Because, when you live abroad, it’s very important to keep connected to your identity and to have the ability to meet people who speak the same language. My concerts outside Lithuania usually gather together all Lithuanians who live as emigrants. The concert was full of joy and everybody left home happy, including myself.

CEEC:  You had concerts in the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, many European countries and now in Singapore. How does the experience performing abroad, compare to performing back home? 

AM: I sing in Lithuanian. This is the language I express myself best, even if I have some songs in English. My fans are usually Lithuanians and they know most of my songs since 1983. So, everywhere I meet them we sing together all the way. There’s a very little difference between my concerts in Lithuania and outside of it. In my country I can make big arena concerts, sometimes with the full symphony orchestra. In small Lithuanian communities abroad, concerts are usually more intimate, which I also enjoy very much.

CEEC: Why should people visit Lithuania? Where should they go and what should they eat?

AM: Start from Vilnius, then go to the sea side, especially Coronian Spit. I could tell you a lot, but first, see this video: https://youtu.be/WH9mTk1mxkI

(photo by Lukas Gricius)